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Rick Warren fields Larry King queries for Dec. 25 show on faith amid crisis

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)–Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” will appear on CNN’s Larry King show Dec. 25.

Warren will be part of a show focusing on Ryan Corbin’s miraculous recovery from a brain injury. Corbin is Christian entertainer Pat Boone’s 25-year-old grandson and his parents, Lindi and Mike Corbin, are members of Saddleback.

“The entire program is a wonderful witness to Jesus,” Warren said after the show was taped Dec. 5. “The Boones shared their moving testimonies about the role of faith and prayer in Ryan’s recovery, and Larry [King] asked me theological questions like, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ ‘Why didn’t God prevent this accident?’ and ‘What is the meaning of life?’ He was clearly tuned in to the answers I offered.”

During the show, King asked Warren how the Corbin family could cope so well during such a tragedy. Warren’s response: “People who have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ tend to handle pain differently.”

Warren offered two reasons why strong believers in Jesus are not devastated by tragedy. First, he said they have a personal relationship with God to lean on, not a simply a rigid religion of rules. Second, Warren said Christians understand that God’s purpose for their lives is greater than the problems they face.

“People can handle incredible pain when they know there is a purpose behind it,” Warren said, noting that several born-again believers who showed great faith in crisis had recently appeared on the Larry King show, including 9/11 widow Lisa Beemer, Christian workers Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer who were jailed by Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime, and the parents of Columbine’s Cassie Bernall.

To King’s question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Warren replied, “If we knew why everything happens when it happens, then we’d be God. But we’re not God, and so we have a limited capacity for understanding why things happen. God does not owe us an explanation for everything.”

In addition, Warren said explanations won’t take away the pain. “Even when we know why a tragedy happens, it still hurts,” Warren said. “Instead of asking ‘Why?’ it’s more helpful to ask ‘How?’ and ‘What?’ How can I grow from this situation, and what does God want me to learn from it?”

In matters of faith, King admitted he was an agnostic. Warren said, “Too often we get it backwards. We doubt our beliefs and believe our doubts. Instead, we should doubt our doubts and believe our beliefs!”

“About 50 million people in over 200 countries watch Larry King show, so let’s pray many will come to Christ as a result of this show,” Warren said.

Corbin fell through a skylight located on the top of his three-story apartment building in Brentwood, Calif., on June 19, 2001. He was in a coma for four months and continues a slow — yet miraculous — recovery.

King also took an interest in Rick Warren’s new book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” which is projected to top the Christian Booksellers Association’s best-seller list later this month. Christianity Today, on Nov. 18, recently suggested Warren, who founded Saddleback in Lake Forest, Calif., may be the most influential pastor in America. Resources from Warren’s ministry are posted at the website www.pastors.com.

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